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Plant Profile: Corn, On Deck Hybrid

Hydroponic CornRight now at our South Windsor, Connecticut campus we are growing a crop that is far from your typical hydroponic produce.  We’ve recently started growing a sweet, bi-color variety corn in our Micro Dutch Bucket System.  Since we didn’t see any reason why we couldn’t grow hydroponic corn, we were thrilled when our corn began growing successfully.   For those that don’t know, the Micro Dutch Bucket system is a compact system made up of four buckets set on top of a reservoir tank, it is perfect for the average home owner.   This system is neat, because it allows you to grow plants in small areas.  The corn has been very successful; we already have 4 ears grown, and we hope this experiment will inspire others.  You can learn all about our latest experiment in this month’s plant profile.

Corn, On Deck Hybrid Zea mays

Days to Bloom: 63 days

Disease Resistances

Leaf Blight

Gray Leaf Spot

Northern Leaf Blight

Growing Method

The Micro Dutch Bucket System is a compact system perfect for any home owner or hobbyist.  This system has four dutch buckets that sit on top of the nutrient reservoir.   For each bucket we have four stalks planted.  This allows us to have a rotating cycle of crops available.Dutch Bucket

Lighting 

For ideal growth, corn should receive 16 hours of supplemental lighting. Our Micro Dutch Bucket System is under one our Greenhouse Light Fixtures. These light fixtures will hold both a Metal Halide or a High Pressure Sodium lamp. We only need one above this system since the footprint is so small.

Temperature and Humidity

In our grow rooms we aim to keep the temperature at 82 degrees Fahrenheit with an ideal humidity of 50 percent.

Nutrient Requirement

In the 40 gallon reservoir we keep the EC at 2.5 and the pH at 5.9 

Support

This variety of corn is meant to be grown in a bucket, so it doesn’t get very tall.  A fully mature plant only grows to about five feet tall.  With that being said, they don’t need much support to grow in this system.  We do have a string grid set up, however, just to prevent them from falling over or getting too top heavy.String Grid

Care

Overall, corn has been an easy plant to take care of.  To start the corn, we planted the seeds in our Grodan Delta Gro- BlocksTM.  Once they were ready to be transplanted into the buckets, we actually transferred the whole cube, in order to provide anchoring for the plant.  We then filled the bucket with Perlite and put in 4 dripper stakes, one for each plant.

Pollination 

You should pollinate every day, and for corn it is a pretty easy process.  All you will need to do is cut off the tassels and brush it on the silk of the plant.  If you have a fully pollinated ear of corn, each kernel will have a piece of silk attached to it.Corn Tassel

Harvesting

Once corn is planted it can produce forever if it’s taken care of properly.  In order to harvest corn, simply “snap” the ear off the stalk.  You can harvest up to three ears of corn per stalk.

Diseases/Pests  

So far we have had no disease or pest issues.

Interesting Facts

Did you know that corn always has an even number of rows of kernels?  Also an ear of corn has 1000 kernels, but only 700 of which are edible.

Growing corn in this system saves a lot of space.  You can grow up to sixteen stalks in one system, while only using about six square feet.  In order to grow the same amount out in a field, it would take about seventy five square feet.  That is why this system is so great for people who only have a small amount of growing space available.

As you can see, our experiment with hydroponic corn is going very well.  Be sure to stop by our Facebook page for periodic updates. If you have any questions on caring for this plant or about our Micro Dutch Bucket System please leave us a comment.Hydroponic Corn

 

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